The Growing Impact of the Talent Shortage: How Key Industries are Affected by the Lack of Skilled Workers


Businesses across all industries are grappling with a challenge that shows no signs of abating - the skills shortage. Critical job roles remain unfilled for weeks and months on end, resulting in reduced productivity and increased operational costs. As a talent acquisition and workforce planning professional, you are on the front line of this issue, responsible for finding the right candidates with the necessary skills to fill those vacancies ​​and ensuring the organization is well-equipped to face future challenges to operate efficiently despite any potential skills shortages.

As you’re navigating this unique environment, it’s helpful to understand the causes and nuances of a talent shortage in order to effectively address the issue. In the first of a three-part series, we’ll dive into the current state of the US labor market and how it’s uniquely affecting each industry.

What is a Talent Shortage? 

The Current State of the US Labor Market

A talent shortage occurs when the demand for a specific skill is greater than the supply of qualified workers in a particular industry, occupation, or geographic region. This imbalance can lead to increased competition amongst organizations for top talent, ultimately affecting the growth and success of businesses.

In recent years, the US labor market has been grappling with a severe talent shortage, with businesses struggling to find the skilled individuals they need to stay competitive. This shortage has been brought on by a number of complex and interrelated factors.


One of the key contributors to the talent shortage has been the rapid pace of technological advancement. As new technologies emerge and existing ones evolve, businesses are finding it challenging to keep up and find the talent they need to stay at the cutting edge. This is particularly true in fields such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cyber security, where demand for skilled individuals far outstrips supply.

Another factor driving the talent shortage is the demographic shift taking place in the US. With Baby Boomers retiring in record numbers, businesses are losing valuable experience and knowledge that is hard to replace. At the same time, younger generations entering the workforce often lack the skills and experience needed to fill the gaps left by retiring Boomers.

Finally, evolving industry needs also contribute to the talent shortage, with businesses struggling to find individuals with the right mix of technical skills, soft skills, and industry-specific knowledge. This is particularly true in fields such as healthcare, where demand for skilled workers is skyrocketing, but supply needs to catch up.

Overall, the talent shortage has significant implications for businesses and the economy as a whole. Companies that are unable to attract and retain top talent may struggle to compete in the market and innovate at the necessary pace. At the same time, the broader economy may suffer if critical skills shortages drive up costs and stifle growth. Addressing the talent shortage will require innovative approaches to planning, education, training, and recruiting that can help bridge the skills gap and ensure a steady supply of qualified workers for the future.


How Different Industries Are Impacted by the Skills Shortage

As much as the talent shortage has impacted the labor market as a whole, there are a few industries that have been hit a little harder than the rest. 

The Healthcare Industry

A high number of exits and a shortage of newcomers are leaving a significant shortage of medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the United States will face a shortage of up to 120,000 physicians by 2030. This deficit can be attributed to factors such as a growing demand for healthcare services and an aging population, which will increase the need for medical care even more.

The Tech Industry

The tech industry has been a driving force of innovation and growth in recent years, but the shortage of workers with tech skills has limited progress. According to a report from the National Science Board, the United States is not producing enough graduates with the necessary STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills to meet the growing demands of the industry. This shortage has led to a highly competitive job market and increasing salaries to attract and retain top talent, which can be expensive and challenging for smaller companies.

The Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry, particularly hotels and restaurants, has also been affected by the talent shortage. The industry has struggled with high employee turnover rates for some time, but the national talent shortage has made retaining workers even more challenging. The hospitality industry needs workers with specialized skills to provide excellent customer service and ensure guest satisfaction. However, with a limited candidate pool, companies in this industry have had to increase wages and benefits to attract and retain workers with the needed skills. This shortage could lead to lower profitability and decreased productivity if companies cannot recruit and retain skilled workers.

The shortages in healthcare, technology, and hospitality have forced employers to adapt to changing workforce dynamics and put greater effort into recruitment and retention efforts. Employers must be strategic and proactive in identifying and addressing workforce needs to maintain their competitive advantage in the current job market. It is clear that the talent shortage will continue to be a challenge for employers for the foreseeable future, and proactive solutions must be implemented to address this long-term issue.

How can talent acquisition and workforce planning professionals  move forward with confidence? Check out the ebook for your comprehensive guide! Navigating a Skills Shortage: Strategies for Talent Acquisition and Workforce Planning Professionals

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